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Extensions Are Good For Baseball

With how free agency has transpired the past few years, we have seen an increasing number of players opt to sign contract extensions with their current teams rather than test free agency. This meant one of the top players in the upcoming free agent class, Nolan Arenado, has opted to remain with the Rockies until 2025 effectively making him a Rockie for life.

While we can argue the ramifications free agency will have on labor discussions and whether there will be a strike or lock out, the extension which arguably emanated is a positive for Rockies fans. They will now get to see a player they love continue putting up MVP caliber numbers and continue to make his case for the Hall of Fame. Being able to continue to root for players you love and have watched play for your team since they have been called up to the majors is a good thing for baseball.

Certainly, we saw that on display when David Wright played his last ever baseball game. On September 29, the 63-96 Marlins played a game against the 75-85 Mets. The starting pitchers were Trevor Richards and Steven Matz. In a vacuum, there would be no reason to go to this game. Still, 43, 928 Mets fans would make their way to Citi Field to say good-bye to a beloved player.

Yes, you can raise how Wright’s extension didn’t work out exactly how everyone planned. His injuries, especially his spinal stenosis, meant Wright did not have the Hall of Fame career many believed he was going to have. Towards the end of the deal, the Mets refusal to move on despite medical evidence to the contrary may have stood in the way from the Mets returning to the World Series after the 2015 season. In the end, none of that mattered as fans rushed to buy tickets and give their emotional farewell to their Captain.

If Wright were to leave and finish his career elsewhere, the emotion directed towards him would not have been the same. It would have existed, but certainly not to the same extent. Having a player like Wright creates that emotional connection between fans, player, and even the team.

We see that happening elsewhere in baseball. There is Joey Votto in Cincinnati, Freddie Freeman in Atlanta, Clayton Kershaw in Los Angeles. These are the players who have stayed with their teams. They’re loved not just because they’re great players, but also because they stayed.

There are various reasons why players stay, and those reasons may or may not include how teams are handling free agency. It doesn’t really matter why the players stay. To fans, it matters that the players stay.

That is the issue facing much of baseball now. The Angels have a decision to make on Mike Trout. The Giants have a decision to make with Madison Bumgarner. The Red Sox have the same decision with Mookie Betts. As for the Mets, they’re going to have to make these decisions with respect to Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Michael Conforto in relatively short order.

For the Mets, the player the Mets sign to an extension will likely become a beloved Met, more so than they are now. Ultimately, it won’t matter if things don’t pan out like everyone hopes it would. Instead, when all is said and done, we will have the memories of the 2015 season (and hopefully other postseason runs), the All-Stars, and the awards. We will have a reason to pour into Citi Field in our jerseys and say another emotional good-bye to a Mets great, a player we adored for years.

And that right there is why extensions are great for the game.

 

8 thoughts on “Extensions Are Good For Baseball”

  1. OldBackstop says:

    The Wright extension was an unmitigated disaster.

    And the contract people should be howling for is Wheeler. Conforto and Syndergaard have years of servitude left to toil at a price where we can afford to build a winning team around them.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Wright extension was great for the Mets. They got good production when Wright played, and when he didn’t, insurance footed the bill.

      1. OldBackstop says:

        Uh, no. First off, Wrights commitment paralyzed the Mets through their best window of contention with cheap ace pitching. Secondly, the insurance you have to buy on long contracts is expensive as hell, 10 percent or more of the deal’s value.

        Thirdaly, and more to the real point, preexisting conditions are impossible or impossibly expensive to cover. Check deGrom’s medical records….Tommy John plus plus.

        1. OldBackstop says:

          Also, note, Wright is on the record for $127 million from 2014 to 2020. He played in 211 games, hit .265, and grand totalled 20 home runs, all while we sat frozen on a new 3rd baseman lest we offend him. Yeah, we got 75 percent of that back, but also paid some ungodly insurance amount, 10 mil or more.

          The Wilpons are not the owners for long terms deals or extensions that wipe out great value years under control. They will not take the punch and keep spending.

          1. metsdaddy says:

            How the Wilpons handled the situation is a separate argument.

        2. metsdaddy says:

          Wilpons not spending insurance proceeds doesn’t make Wright’s deal bad. It makes the Wilpons bad owners.

          1. OldBackstop says:

            No. No team with a superstar bucks guy sidelined in the middle of a long term deal is going to double down and sign another big bucks guy. And since they thought they had a long term answer there they would not be bringing along youth at that position.

            The gamble of a huge salary commitment goes far behind the dollars, we have been on pause for a true third baseman and true centerfielder for years now as Wright and Lagares limped through their long contracts.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            That’s not correct. Teams not owned by the Wilpons who have lost players to injuries like stenosis act accordingly.

            Seriously, don’t defend the Wilpons actions here.

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